The pop culture icon and three-time NAACP award winner will give the keynote speech.
Hollywood leading lady and three-time NAACP award winner Nia Long will give the keynote speech during The Lauro Cavazos & Ophelia Powell-Malone Mentoring Program (Mentor Tech) 13th annual banquet at 7 p.m. April 24 at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Banquet Hall.
Most notably known for her movie and television roles such as Lisa Wilkes on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “The Best Man Holiday,” “The Single Moms Club,” “Big Momma's House (1 and 2),” “Are We There Yet?” and “Boyz N the Hood,” Long has been acting since the late 80s. She also has spent time in the director's chair with the debut of Ashanti's music video “Baby” and Yolanda Adam's “This Too Shall Pass.”
In addition to her Hollywood resume, Long mentors young girls, both nationally and internationally, to help with their self-esteem and lends support to Black Girls Rock, an organization that promotes the arts for young women of color and promotes discussion on how women of color are portrayed in the media. Long has worked in Trinidad, Grenada and Barbados, where her family roots lie.
“When selecting speakers for the banquet, we strive to bring someone who will inspire and motivate our students and all those in attendance to reach their ultimate potential,” said Cory Powell, director of the Mentor Tech program. “Ms. Long's longevity in the entertainment industry, relatability, commitment to mentoring youth and other civic engagement activities makes her the ideal speaker for this year's event.”
Long is a three-time NAACP award winner, winning two of them for her role as Officer Sasha Monroe on NBC's crime drama “Third Watch” as an outstanding actress in a drama series.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Long now resides in Los Angeles with her partner Ime Udoka, an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs, and her two sons Massai and Kez.
“As we celebrate the 13th annual Mentor Tech Celebration Banquet, I'm excited that Ms. Long has agreed to serve as our speaker,” said Paul Frazier, assistant vice president for the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. “Her efforts to mentor and empower students in their educational pursuits closely align with the purpose and mission of the event.”
Mentor Tech seeks to enhance the quality of the educational experience of students from underrepresented populations through programs, services, advocacy, and campus and community involvement. The program provides students with information, encouragement and direction by pairing students with faculty and staff members to help them reach their academic, personal and professional goals.
Since the program's beginning in 2002, Mentor Tech has assisted more than 2,200 students, and within the last nine years, more than 900 student participants have graduated from Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
Tickets for the banquet are $80 each or $100 for VIP; tables of eight cost $800 and $1,000 for VIP tables. All VIP purchases include premium seating, passes to the VIP reception and a photo opportunity with Long. Sponsorship opportunities also are available. Proceeds benefit the Mentor Tech scholarship fund.
Mentor Tech is part of Texas Tech's Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.